[Back to Table of Contents]


            The purpose of this handbook is to provide a guide for planning, conducting and reporting on University Affiliated Program (UAP) site reviews. The UAP site review is one component of an interactive Quality Enhancement System that will be described below. The procedures suggested in the following text should be used in ways that maximize flexibility and responsiveness. Site review efforts should:

[Top] [Next]

History and Background

            University Affiliated Programs. University Affiliated Programs are established and governed by the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (Act) as amended by P.L. 104-183 (1996). All programs funded under the act have as their purpose:

To assure that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families participate in the design of and have access to culturally competent services, supports, and other assistance and opportunities that promote independence, productivity, and inclusion into the community (Act, Sec 101 (b)).

            Therefore UAPs are designed to make a difference in the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. UAPs accomplish this outcome as part of (or associated with) a university or other institution of higher education. Their unique roles and contributions are carried out through leadership role in the promotion of independence, productivity, and interaction and inclusion into the community of individuals with developmental disabilities through the provision of the following activities which are conducted in a culturally competent manner:

bullet    Interdisciplinary preservice preparation of students and fellows, including the preparation of leadership personnel.

bullet    Community service activities that shall include community training and technical assistance for or with individuals with developmental disabilities, family members of individuals with developmental disabilities, professionals, paraprofessionals, students, and volunteers. Such activities may include state-of-the-art direct services including family support, individual support, personal assistance services, educational, vocational, clinical, health, prevention, or other direct services.

bullet    Dissemination of information and research findings, which may include the empirical validation of [relevant] activities...and contributions to the development of new knowledge in the field of developmental disabilities (Act, Sec. 151).

            Program Criteria. The Federal administering agency for the UAP is the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) located in the Administration on Children and Families (ACF) in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The American Association on University Affiliated Programs (AAUAP) is the national organization of UAPs. This organization represents 61 UAPs located in every state and territory of the United States. In collaboration with AAUAP, ADD has established a quality enhancement process that calls for:

  1. A reapplication process every five years;
  2. A comprehensive site review using UAP program criteria by peers, consumers and ADD staff; and
  3. Definitive outcomes supported by a AAUAP database.

Current program criteria to which UAPs are held accountable were published in the Federal Register on September 30, 1996 and are summarized in APPENDIX A .

            Quality Enhancement Systems. The Quality Enhancement System (QES) as identified in the Act is "a holistic approach to the development and maintenance of programs and services to enable persons with developmental disabilities to achieve their maximum potential. All UAPs use the QES." Its intent is to provide an overall framework for quality assurance and capacity building to strengthen both individual UAPs and the network. The system identifies four interactive components. These are:

  1. A Site Review Process;
  2. A Core Grant Renewal Process;
  3. A Measure of Program Outcome Process; and
  4. A UAP Program Criteria Review Process.

Each of these components is designed to interact over a maximum of a five-year cycle. Figure 1 illustrates the QES.

Figure 1

The Quality Enhancement Process

diagram ilustrating the technical assistance activities as a link between: UAP Program Criteria Review Process, Site Review Process, Measure of Program Outcome Process, and Core Grant Renewal Process


              The Site Review Process.The site review process is designed to support the QES by providing the following outcomes:

bullet     To provide a peer review of a UAP's overall effectiveness in carrying out the legislative mandate of the Developmental Disabilities Act as amended;

bullet     To provide a peer review of UAP core functions and compliance with UAP program criteria; and

bullet     To provide technical assistance directed at building the capacity of the UAP in its response to individuals with developmental disabilities, their families, and service or support delivery systems.

            ADD-sponsored site reviews should include all of the preceding outcomes. It is important to note that an individual UAP may initiate a site review to selectively target any of the above outcomes. Coordination or support from ADD is optional for UAP-sponsored site reviews depending on resource availability. Under the QES, there is an expectation that prior to the core grant renewal an ADD-sponsored site review will be conducted.

            The Core Grant Renewal Process. Under the Act and QES, there is the provision for the core grant renewal that will allow for up to five-year funding. The length of the core grant award is determined by an independent panel of professionals and consumers in conjunction with ADD. The determination of length of award is based on an overall ranking by a peer review panel of the core grant in response to the Act and the UAP program criteria, and responsiveness to individuals with disabilities and their families in carrying out the UAP mission and functions.

            The Program Outcome Measures. Program outcome measures are generated by UAPs in the following ways:

bullet     Mandatory six-month progress reports to ADD;

bullet     Compilation of the annual AAUAP data base;

bullet     As a component of the core grant renewal process;

bullet     In response to site review information requests; and

bullet     In response to a special request from ADD in support of its annual report to Congress

            The UAP Program Criteria Review Process. The program criteria are used to assess the quality of the University Affiliated Programs.

The overall purpose of the program criteria is to assure the promotion of independence, productivity, integration and inclusion of individuals with developmental disabilities. Compliance with the program criteria is a prerequisite for a UAP to receive the minimum funding level of a UAP. However, compliance with the program criteria does not, by itself, assure funding. The Program Criteria are one part of the quality Enhancement System (QES), and provide a structure for self-assessment and peer review of each UAP. (Federal Register, September 30, 1996; 24 cfr, Sec 1388.1)

            It is important to note that UAP program criteria can and should be used at many points in the QES. Since the program criteria are considered to be standards, they represent one form of quality assurance. The legislated program criteria are "...a statement of the Department's expectation regarding the direction and desired outcome of the University Affiliated Program's operation" (Federal Register, September 30, 1996; CFR, Sec 1388.1).

            Definitions. Several terms are used either in the Act or as a referent in both the Program Criteria and site review process. These terms are given below and are explained more fully in the Summary of Program Criteria given in APPENDIX A .

            The Peer Review Process  provides the Commissioner of ADD with technical and qualitative evaluation of UAP applications and will include on-site visits or inspections as necessary.

            Accessible  means UAPs are characterized by their program and physical accommodation and their demonstrated commitment to the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

            Capacity Building means that UAPs utilize a variety of approaches to strengthen their university and their local, State, regional and National communities. These approaches include, but are not limited to such activities as:

bullet    Enriching program depth and breadth, for example, recruiting individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, local community leaders, additional faculty and students to participate in the UAP;

bullet    Acquiring additional resources, for example, grants, space, and volunteer manpower; and

bullet    Carrying out systems changes, for example, promoting inclusive programming for persons with developmental disabilities across all ages.

            Collaboration means that the UAP cooperates with a wide range of persons, systems, and agencies, whether they utilize services of the UAP or are involved in UAP planning and programs. These entities include individuals with developmental disabilities and family members, as well as the State Developmental Disabilities Councils, the Protection and Advocacy agencies, other advocacy and disability groups, university components, generic and specialized human service agencies, State agencies and citizen and community groups. An example of this cooperation is the Consumer Advisory Committee, a required element in each UAP.

            Cultural Diversity  means that UAPs are characterized by their commitment to involve individuals with disabilities, family members and trainees from diverse cultural backgrounds in all levels of their activities. This commitment to cultural diversity means that each UAP must assure that individuals from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds are fully included; that efforts are made to recruit individuals from minority backgrounds into the field of developmental disabilities; that specific efforts must be made to ensure that individuals from minority backgrounds have effective and meaningful opportunities for full participation in the developmental disabilities service system; and that recruitment efforts at the levels of preservice training, community training, practice, administration and policy making must focus on bringing large numbers of racial ethnic minorities into the field in order to provide appropriate skills, knowledge, role models, and sufficient personnel to address the growing needs of an increasingly diverse population.

            Culturally Competent means provision of services, supports, or other assistance in a manner that is responsive to the beliefs, interpersonal styles, attitudes, language, and behaviors of individuals who are receiving services, and that has the greatest likelihood of ensuring their maximum participation in the program.

            Diverse Network means that although each UAP has the same mandates under the Act, the expression of these common mandates differs across programs. Each UAP must implement these mandates within the context of their host university, their location within the university, the needs of the local and State community, the cultural composition of their State, their resources and funding sources, and their institutional history. These factors converge to create a network of unique and distinct programs, bound together by common mandates but enriched by diverse composition.

            Interdisciplinary Training  means the use of individuals from different professional specialties for UAP training and service delivery.

            Lifespan Approach means that UAP activities address the needs of individuals with disabilities who are of all ages.

            Mandated Core Functions means the UAP must perform:

  1. Interdisciplinary preservice preparation;
  2. Community service activities (community training and technical assistance); and where appropriate, direct services; and
  3. Activities related to dissemination of information and research findings.

            Program Criteria  means a statement of the Department's [Department of Health and Human Services] expectation regarding the direction and desired outcome of the University Affiliated Program's operation.

            Research and Evaluation means that the UAP refines its activities on the basis of evaluation results. As members of the university community, involvement in program-relevant research and development of new knowledge are important components of UAPs.

            State-of-the-Art means that UAP activities are of high quality (using the latest technology), worthy of replication (consistent with available resources), and systemically evaluated.

[Previous] [Top] [Next]

Assumptions about Program Site Reviews

            Utilization of Additional Referents.  In addition to UAP program criteria, explained in this current document, it is recommended that two other documents be consulted and used to define strengths or areas of needed development for the UAP undergoing a site review. The first document, Guidelines for the Development and Maintenance of Quality University Affiliated Programs, reviews both philosophy and strategies that can also be useful in providing technical assistance or making recommendations. The second document, the Suggested Interview Questions manual, can be used as a tool to focus and record the site team's efforts in seeking answers to important questions while visiting the UAP.

            Importance of Professional Judgement.  The site review relies on the professional judgment of acknowledged experts in the field and can focus on difficult-to-measure factors such as the blend of program elements, the effectiveness of the program as a change agent, its sensitivity and responsiveness to current trends and initiatives, administrative and operational effectiveness, and its impact on the university and the community it serves (Stricker, 1982). Results should complement, validate, and extend information provided to the ADD through the core grant application.

It is also important to note that this professional judgement should be targeted to judge how the program behaves overall as a UAP. It should not be directed to solely evaluating individual projects undertaken or sponsored by the UAP.

            Uniqueness of UAPs.  Individual UAPs differ organizationally and programmatically just as states and universities differ. This diversity is viewed as a strength, for it introduces a broader spectrum of expertise, approaches and strategies which potentially can have greater benefit to the field than if each were identical to all other UAPs. Furthermore, such diversity can reflect the unique structure and settings in which the UAP is located and the needs of the state and region which it serves. Finally, the site review should be viewed as an opportunity to reinforce and highlight the many fine outcomes that UAPs produce.

[Previous] [Back to Table of Contents] [Top]